The Houthis rebels waging an insurgency against Yemen's government asked Saudi Arabia to stop its airstrikes against them. The Saudis began the strikes after the Houthis crossed into their border.
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Saudi Arabia launched the airstrikes last week after a cross-border raid by the rebels, known as the Houthis, killed at least one Saudi border guard and wounded 15.
The commander of the Houthis said the airstrikes were "not in the best interest of the two countries," reports the BBC. He also said the Houthis were fighting in self defense, and denied receiving support from Iran.
Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it would not stop attacking the rebels until they retreat from its border, reports Reuters. The assistant minister of defense, Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, said Saudi Arabia has secured its border against the rebels, but would continue its airstrikes until the Houthis were well away from the border. Also on Tuesday the rebels claimed to have wrested control of more territory from the government.
The Houthis, who are from the Zaydi sect of Shia Islam, claim to be fighting for the rights of the Zaydi Shiite community, which they contend is discriminated against and marginalized in Yemen. They have been fighting Yemen's government for five years, and three months ago the government launched a new offensive in an attempt to quell them.